How to Give Back During the Holidays

December 13, 2017

No matter where you are this holiday season, there are many ways to give back. We’ve rounded up some of the best ideas for how to give.

To find out where you can volunteer or give in your community, you can visit VolunteerMatch here. General ways to give back this season include sending season’s greetings through UNICEF’s Tribute Card program, or finding a food bank in your area to donate canned goods to.

If you’re also in New York City like the Elysian team, we’ve compiled a list of organizations and initiatives that you can give your time or donations to in the area!

Sixty and Me: Sixty and Me is a community of more than 500,000 women over age 60, providing resources that help them live happy and secure lives. They have produced a comprehensive guide to connect all older adults to volunteer opportunities. The guide also includes advice on how to get the most physically, socially, and spiritually from giving back.

Books Through Bars: This grassroots program in the city is now in its 21st year and collects gently used and new paperback books to give to incarcerated men and women on an ongoing basis. Visit their website to find out their specific requests, including items that are most needed like English dictionaries, Spanish/English dictionaries, and thesauruses. They also accept donations and supplies.

The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs: During this tumultuous time for migrants and immigrants, the people who make our New York community such a special place to be need our help. Volunteer to help out fellow New Yorkers by working with immigrant communities. You can help people from immigrant communities sign up for IDNYC cards, aid with translation or legal workshops. The office of Immigrant Affairs welcomes all who want to help community members transition into civic, economic, and cultural life here in the city.

God’s Love We Deliver: Similar to Meals on Wheels, this organization also brings meals to people in need. You can sign up to volunteer in a number of ways, including delivering or preparing meals. But if you can’t volunteer, you can also donate $10 or more to pay for people’s holiday meals.  

New York Cares Coat Drive: Each year, New York Cares holds its annual winter coat drive. The drive accepts lightly used and new coats and jackets, which you can take to any number of drop-off centers throughout the five boroughs. The organization also accepts donations via text (send “COAT” to 41444). All coats are given to the homeless population and those in need.

GrowNYC: The greenmarkets in NYC, including Union Square and Grand Army Plaza are partially funded by GrowNYC, an organization that works to establish community gardens in neighborhoods that need them, improve recycling initiatives in apartment buildings around the city, and making New York more eco-friendly in general. GrowNYC accepts both donations and volunteers.

Rescuing Leftover Cuisine: Donate to or volunteer with Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, an initiative that seeks to end food waste and hunger in the world. There are plenty of specific ways to volunteer, which can all be found on their website.  

If you know of other initiatives and programs that need some extra holiday love, let us know in the comments!

All the best and happy holidays